Are Expensive Japanese Knives Worth It A Chef’s Perspective

Are Expensive Japanese Knives Worth It? A Chef’s Perspective

If you’re in the market for a new knife then you’ve probably been faced with a tough decision…are expensive Japanese knives worth it?

It’s quite easy to get sucked into the idea that you need to spend $500 on a knife. At the same time, there are plenty of knives on the market for $100.

But is splashing out really worth it? Is there anything different about these expensive knives that make them worth the splurge?

We’re here to help! Let’s take a look at what makes Japanese knives so famous and if they’re worth the hype and extra cost.

What Is A Japanese Knife Called?

What Is A Japanese Knife Called?

Knives found in Japanese cuisine are called hōchō or bōchō.

The Japanese knife collection comes in a wide variety of shapes and sizes for different uses. Here is a list of the most common types:


It means “three virtues knife” or “three uses.”; They come in two different shapes: rectangular and rounded at one end with an angled spine on either side. These knives are ideal for cutting vegetables while retaining all their natural juices. Also, they’re popular among sushi chefs for slicing fish into thin slices without tearing or ripping them apart during use.

Nakiri Bocho/Usuba Bocho

A vegetable knife with a straight edge. These are typically rectangular or triangular.

Deba Bocho

A fish knife with a heavy blade and rounded tip.

Yanagiba Bocho

A fish knife with a sharp tip, long blade, and beveled on both sides. This style of knife is used for preparing sushi and sashimi.

Takohiki Bocho

The Yanagiba bocho is similar, but with a squarer tip and a straighter edge. It’s used as both a fish and vegetable knife.

Tokujyo Bouchou

A bread knife with straight or serrated edges that can be used for many other tasks as well.

What Makes Japanese Knives Expensive?

What Makes Japanese Knives Expensive?

Japanese knives are definitely more expensive than your average kitchen knife, and many people wonder why that is. Let’s go over the main reasons Japanese knives are so costly.

  • A high level of knowledge and skill goes into creating them. They’re typically hand-made by skilled artisans who have spent years learning their trade.
  • They’re crafted using traditional methods and specialized materials.
  • Japanese knives feature intricate designs.
  • They require extra labor in forge welding multiple layers.
  • They’re usually made from harder metals that require specific maintenance.

Are Expensive Japanese Knives Worth It?

Expensive Japanese knives have garnered a reputation for being some of the best knives in the world. But the question is: are they worth the money?

Well, there are a lot of options out there when it comes to choosing the perfect knife for your kitchen. But none come with the same cachet or prestige as a beautiful, hand-forged knife made in Japan.

Japanese knives are some of the most sought-after culinary tools in modern cooking. And unlike a lot of expensive status symbols, they’re actually worth their high price tags.

Let’s take a look at why!

High-End Materials

Japanese knives are manufactured to be very durable, often with hard carbon steel. This allows them to hold their edge for an exceptionally long time. So you don’t need to sharpen your Japanese knife as often as you would need to sharpen lower-quality knives. The handles, too, are of high-quality wood and metal.

Razor-Sharp Edge

Japanese knives are popular for their razor-sharp blades. In fact, people who use Japanese knives don’t switch back to regular ones after they’ve gotten used to the razor-sharpness.

You could slice through a tomato using only gravity as your guide. After all, they call them falling knives for a reason!

They Pretty Much Last a Lifetime

A good quality japanese knife set can cost up to $200. For around half that amount, you can acquire an American-made chef’s knife.

Well, the difference between spending $100 on a knife and spending $200 on a knife is that your $100 knife will last you years, whereas your $200 knife will last you decades.

Lightweight Design

Japanese knives are lighter, as they are usually made of thin material. This can be useful in the kitchen when using it for a long time, as it is not so heavy but still durable.

For instance, German and Japanese Gyuto knives are very different in weight. On average, German Gyutos weigh about 8.9 ounces, while Japanese ones weigh 6.5 ounces.

Top-Notch Craftsmanship

The craftsmanship behind each of these knives is top-notch, and each blade is a work of art. These knives are built to last and can be sharpened repeatedly throughout the years without losing their quality or design.

So while you may have to save your pennies for a while before you can afford one of these knives, we believe that when you get it, you’ll know exactly why they’re worth the cost.

Better Aesthetics

Japanese knives tend to look pretty darn cool. In fact, there’s always a place for a well-crafted Japanese blade in every kitchen.

These knives are beautiful as well as functional. Hence, they can make an excellent focal point or statement piece if you’re looking to show off your kitchen skills.

Are All Japanese Knives Handmade?

Are All Japanese Knives Handmade?

The short answer is no. Not all Japanese knives are handmade, but many of them are, and that makes the knives special: they embody all of the skill, care, and attention to detail that handcrafted items do.

While the majority of Japanese knife makers still hand-forge their knives, several Japanese knives brands manufacture their knives using machines. There is a stigma associated with machine-made knives that they are of lower quality. But the truth is that it all depends on the craftsmanship of the manufacturer. The same goes for handmade knives.

In fact, some chefs with decades of experience say that they can’t tell the difference between a handmade and a machine-made Japanese knife. And in blind taste tests, even restaurant patrons couldn’t distinguish between the two.

So what does this mean for you?

Don’t worry too much about whether it’s made by hand or whether it’s made by machine. As long as you’re buying from a reputable company, be assured your knives are ethically made with care and pride.


When it comes to Japanese knives, you get what you pay for. While high prices might seem like a deterrent, the quality of a Japanese knife set is unmatched by other knives on the market.

It’s beautiful, hand-made (most brands), and of professional quality. And when you consider how long they last, it’s easy to see why they make more sense than Western ones. With proper maintenance, they can last through anything you can put them through – and then some!

But the end decision depends on your budget and how much you like to cook. If you’re just cooking at home a few times a week, then it’s probably not necessary to buy an expensive knife. However, if you’re a professional chef or a serious home cook who spends hours in the kitchen every day, it’s definitely worth the splurge.

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